Moalboal. Reef in Cebu, Philippines


Reef in Cebu, Philippines

Moalboal Beach Photo © Daniel Kwok

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2014 11
	Moalboal 37 turtle with 2 hitchikers - Moalboal
2014 11 Moalboal 37 turtle with 2 hitchikers - Moalboal. Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri
Moalboal is a municipality in the province of Cebu mostly known for having spectacular reefs and wonderful fish sanctuaries. It is categorized as a fourth class municipality with an estimated population of over 30,000 residents. The most popular attraction in the town is Panagsama Beach, which is where most of the PADI-certified dive schools and restaurants are located. The area surrounding Moalboal is also covered with dense tropical rainforests and other natural wonders such as rivers and springs. Other popular tourist attractions near Moalboal are the Kawasan Falls in Badian and the Whale Shark Sanctuary in Oslob.


The majority of the locals residing in Moalboal are Cebuanos, but most of the descendants of the locals are Boholanons (or people coming from Bohol (Wikipedia Article) Island). There is a famous folklore circulating the area about an indestructible tree trunk where the local hero named ‘Laguno’ from Bohol was buried.
Laguno was feared by his enemies for his “oracion”, or divine prayers, and had once protected Moalboal from Moro invaders. Locals believe that the tree trunk still exists and is situated near one of the springs of Moalboal. The elders have given caution to the people that whoever attempts to chop or uproot the tree trunk will get sick.

2014 11 Moalboal 24
	moving around - Moalboal
2014 11 Moalboal 24 moving around. Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri


2014 11 Moalboal 31 grumpy
	red fish - Moalboal
2014 11 Moalboal 31 grumpy red fish - Moalboal. Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri
Moalboal is a diving paradise, beautiful in its own way. It has been recognized as one of the diving capitals in the Philippines and more people have been visiting the diving spots every year. For aspiring divers, most shops in Moalboal can teach you all about diving for around ₱14,500 ($319) to ₱19,000 ($418), including the necessary gear and oxygen tanks. All dive shops are required to be PADI-certified so you’re in safe hands.

Panagsama Beach

This is a white sand beach famous for being a base point for a number of diving spots. Underneath the waters of Panagsama lies a number of coral reefs, different species of fish, and even sea turtles. Aside from diving, the coastline is also perfect for snorkeling and swimming. Along Panagsama Beach, you can find popular dive shops such as the Sea Turtle House and the Belgian Resort Divers.

White Beach

Basdako, or White Beach, is 7 kilometers north of Panagsama Beach. Here you’ll find a couple of resorts and restaurants situated along the beach. This beautiful spot in Moalboal has spectacular coral reefs just a few meters out from the shoreline, perfect for snorkeling and free diving.

Orchid Gallery

A small orchid plant school that is situated 200 meters from the Moalboal National Highway (near the Petron Station). The gallery has a collection of local wildlife and other plants. Tourists can also purchase orchids if they want to.

 - Moalboal
Moalboal Reef. . Photo by Nere Lorco

Resorts and Accommodations

Resorts in Moalboal can be found mostly around the White Beach area. The Dolphin House Resort and the Club Serena are some of the most frequented resorts by tourists, rates are about ₱5,500 ($121) per night. HK Beach Resort and Barefoot White Beach Resort have lower rates which range from ₱2,000 ($44) to ₱2,500 ($55) per night. The accommodations in Panagsama Beach are ideal for tourists who are planning to stay longer. Rositas Cottages offer rental homes fully equipped with everything you need, while the Moalboal Backpacker Lodge is popular among backpackers due to its dorm-style rooms and free WiFi.

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	climbing - Moalboal
2014 11 Moalboal 67 climbing - Moalboal. Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri

Getting There

When you are staying in Cebu City, there are plenty of transportation options to choose from when going to Moalboal. Most of the resorts and dive schools will recommend that you hire a rental van or a taxi for convenience. The 3-hour trip will cost you ₱3,000 ($66) which is for some, a little bit pricey.
For those traveling on a budget or want to spend less than the first option, they can take a bus ride going to Moalboal (make sure you bring someone who has already been there to avoid being lost). From anywhere in Cebu City, take a taxi to South Bus Terminal near E-Mall. Upon arriving at the bus terminal, hop on to one of the yellow buses, or Ceres Liner buses. The fare going to Moalboal is around ₱107 ($2.35), it is usually higher depending on the season.

Inform the bus driver or conductor to drop you off in Moalboal. The buses usually drop off passengers at the municipality’s local bus station which is about 5 kilometers from Panagsama Beach, and 9 kilometers away from White Beach. When you get to the bus stop, tricycles (these are the most common transportation in Moalboal) will be available to take you to your resort or dive shop. The fare going to Panagsama Beach is about ₱30 ($0.66) - 50 PHPper person, depending on the driver.

Panorama - Moalboal
Panorama - Moalboal. Photo by turukawa

Travel Tips

  • Since Moalboal is a municipality situated far away from the city, there are no large banks nor ATMs available in the area. Although, there are some pawnshops and establishments that cater money transfers, it is advisable to bring enough money when visiting Moalboal.
  • Tourists who are staying in Moalboal for a couple of days can rent motorbikes at several beach resorts. The rates go around ₱300 ($6.60) to ₱400 ($8.80) per day depending on the model of the motorcycle.

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Author: radiantan. Last updated: Jan 31, 2015

Pictures of Moalboal

2014 11 Moalboal 48 busy reef - Moalboal
2014 11 Moalboal 48 busy reef - Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri

2014 11 Moalboal 54 grumpy turtle - Moalboal
2014 11 Moalboal 54 grumpy turtle - Photo by Lakshmi Sawitri


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